Monday, 20 July 2015

Gusto Site

Sometimes all you want to do after a hard week's work is to relax... Well, may be not just sometimes! So after a crazy week of work, eating (of course!), a bit of drinking and live music was in order.

I live out on the Outer Ring Road (121) and although it's not that far away, going into town or Nimman feels like a bit of a hike, and I didn't fancy going through the traffic (and looking for parking!). Fortunately, there's a cool little restaurant / cafe on the New San Kamphaeng Rd, just only about 10 min from my house. The traffic, and parking, was a breeze!

Gusto Site. A newish (about 6 month old) restaurant on the New San Kamphaeng Rd.
There's plenty of parking!

The ambience is lovely. There's a big garden and seatings inside and outside the restaurant. There's live music on Friday and Saturday nights. I've been there on a couple of Saturday nights and the band played great easy listening music. A really nice place to chill out.

The atmosphere of the restaurant / cafe. 

The food here is pretty good too. Gusto Site has mainly Thai dishes,Thai style pasta dishes, as well as various great looking desserts.

The Deep Fried Pork Belly with Galangal Chilli Dip was lovely. The pork was well seasoned, and the chilli dip was very refreshing. It's like the northern green chilli dip (Nam Prik Noom) with galangal. An interesting twist. (95 baht)

Deep Fried Pork Belly with Galangal Chilli Dip, an icy glass of Heineken.. Mmm
BTW, thanks Zalora for the green bag that I took to the restaurant. 
The Deep Fried Tilapia (Tabtim fish) with Garlic. This is also quite good and nicely done.The fish pieces (not fillets as the pieces still had bones in them) are very nicely fried with light crispy skin, and pillow soft on the inside. It comes with a sweetish sauce with galangal (I think they really like galangal here!). I found I only needed a bit of sauce on the fish as the sauce is quite sweet. 185 baht.

Deep Fried Tilapia (Tubtim) Fish with Garlic. Served with a sweet galangal sauce. 
Gaeng Ratajuan with Pork Ribs. This is quite a lovely, interesting "curry". It features a lot of the usual suspects of Thai herbs (lemongrass, kaffir lime, and other herbs) as well as shrimp paste, which makes the soup/curry really smooth with earthy flavours. Westerners may not appreciate this as it is a bit of an acquired taste due to the shrimp paste. 95 baht

Gaeng Ratajuan with Pork Ribs
What I really love most at Gusto Site (that also helped to replace the calories burnt from that morning's kickboxing session), were the desserts. Oh well, that's one of the benefits of exercising, I guess.. so we can eat more!

The French Toast is really lovely. There's a thick, buttery, slightly salty toast that contrasted well with the scoop of strawberry sorbet (which was.. wow! .. it was full of strawberry flavours). There was also half a mango and various fruits served with the french toast as well. 165 baht.

Loved the French Toast!

Their signature dessert is the Little Bear Chocolate Mousse Cake. Very cute.. and tasted great too (I love chocolate!). My friend wasn't too fussed about chocolate so I ended up eating the whole thing myself (too good to waste!). The mousse was lovely, creamy and soft, not too sweet, and very chocolatey. 95 baht.

.. and the Little Bear Chocolate Mousse Cake! So cute (and decadent)!

I really enjoyed my time chilling out and eating at Gusto Site.

The restaurant seems quite popular with local families from near by moo baans (housing estates). Worth a try if you're in the area!

Gusto Site
T. Ton Pao, A. San Kamphaeng
GPS:18.744124, 99.077092
Tel: 087 657 9889

Great live music

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Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Enoteca Italian Restaurant & Buonissimo Food Affairs

A fellow foodie friend was really excited when he told me that the former executive chef of Le Meridian has teamed up with Buonissimo to open a new Italian Restaurant, Deli and wine shop at Fifth Avenue (near Meechok Plaza).

Searching for a place to eat one day, I was driving in the area and a thought, "let's drop in and see if they're open", and yes, they were. It was their 3rd day!

We were warmly welcomed by the staff. The downstairs area was quite cold (as it's also the wine shop and deli). There was a very big selection of wine, and in the deli counter, lots of cheeses, and dessert.

If you're someone like me who feels the cold (the downstairs area need to be the right temperature for the wine), you might want to head upstairs, where the temperature is a bit warmer, and where you'll also find the open kitchen, and tables with Doi Suthep view.

The menu at Enoteca is quite varied, and has interesting dishes (at least I haven't seen them before), including the Marinated Eggplant Rolls Stuffed with Cream Cheese and Sundried Tomatoes. This turned out to be a rather decadent starter. It is exactly what was described in the menu. The more earthy flavour of the eggplant was highlighted with the tartness of the sun-dried tomato, and complimented well with the creaminess of the soft cheese. Lovely. 140 baht.

The Insalata Con Feta salad ordered was lovely and fresh, simply dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. I thought the fetta was a bit hard though (I prefer the softer variety). 180 baht.

My favourite for the meal, the "handmade" lasagne, was a dream. The chef said it was done to his mother's recipe. The pasta was so soft, and the filling full of cheese and beef flavours. I think it might have been one of the best lasagne I've had (although I must say I'm no lasagne expert!). 190baht.

I must say I'm quite impressed with Enoteca. The food and ambience is lovely. I like the decor too - simple and stylish, and the staff are very friendly. Will definitely be back to try other dishes.

Enoteca (Great Fine Wine)
555/148 Fifth Avenue
T. Nongjom, A Sansai, Chiang Mai 50210
Tel: 093 272 2406

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Sunday, 3 May 2015

Corner Bistro

I've heard that Corner Bistro's fries are amazing. On the menu, it said the fries are triple fried - not something I've heard of before! Sounds pretty special though, especially when you can choose various dips to come with it, as well as adding some optional toppings like cheese, gravy or chilli. Mmm..

I went with a friend to this great little restaurant for a late lunch. We had a choice of the breakfast or the dinner menu. The menus weren't large, but we really did have trouble deciding what to eat as everything seemed really good. Finally, we opted for the breakfast menu.. which then led to a bit of a discussion about how to have the eggs!

I've heard that the Eggs Benedict here is fantastic... and I've never had Eggs Benedict in Chiang Mai.. it's just not a common thing here. But alas, it was a very hot day and I felt like something a little lighter. The Eggs Benedict will have to wait for another visit ... so I went for the Slow Cooked Omelette with salmon on the side. The menu said the order will take a while but it's worth it, so why not? It did take quite a long time... and yes, the omelette was lovely, fluffy and creamy and went perfectly with the beautifully cooked and flavoured breakfast potatoes which were boiled the sautéed with onions, capsicum and herbs. The toast was good too - very nice bread! 90 baht + a bit extra for the salmon.

My friend, incidentally, chose the Eggs Florentine with homemade hollandaise sauce, and her order came at the same time as mine... which, I must say, is quite unusual in restaurants in Thailand (unless you go to more expensive Western restaurants). The Eggs Florentine looked terrific. I had a little taste, and it was very good. 150 baht.

...And the fries? Unfortunately, Corner Bistro was out of fries, so that'll have to wait till next time too... but that might have been good thing because I wouldn't have been able to fit in dessert. Now, normally, being health conscious (hehe),  I would usually share dessert, but my friend didn't want to share her brownie so I had to get one for myself! Not something that I was very sorry about... because the homemade brownie was very good - rich and very chocholatey.. It was nicely warmed up too, and contrasted well with the cold ice cream. Yum. 100 baht.

Corner Bistro is a very nice little restaurant with a lovely setting and relaxed atmosphere. They also have an outdoor verandah area. There is also an an air-conditioned room on the 2nd floor as well. 

It's definitely a great place for breakfast or brunch. I haven't tried dinner there yet, but the menu also looks pretty good with various steak and pasta dishes. Incidentally, Kevin, the Thai-American owner, said that dinner is when Corner Bistro really shines, so it would be worth going back and check it out at that time. 

The service is good. The staff is friendly and attentive, always kept our glasses filled with ice cold water (very much appreciated on a very hot day!). 

Corner Bistro
8/8 Ratchapreuk Alley
(Close to Kad Suan Kaew)
Opens daily: 
7am-3pm & 5pm-12am
Tel: 096 497 6766

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Friday, 24 April 2015

Raw Truckr (Seafood!)

Seafood!! This is not something Chiang Mai is known for, especially being so far away from the sea! Sometimes I dream of biting into a nice juicy prawn, slurping on the fat in the head (well, that's the best bit!) but alas, good prawns are a bit hard to come by.

In comes Raw, a new seafood place (we could always use more seafood places in Chiang Mai!) . They have prawns - river prawns and tiger prawns, NZ mussels, scallops, cockles, squid, fish Andaman oysters, amongst others things. Everything is served raw on some ice, and you grill it yourself on the table.

There are various sets available depending on the number of people in your party - eg. Small (1-2 persons) - 399 baht/set. There large set is 899 baht for 5-6 persons (without oysters) and 1099 baht (High Sea Set) with oysters.

High Sea Set - fresh water prawns, squid, NZ mussel, scallop, spotted babylon,
cockles, razor clams, fresh Andaman oyster 1099 baht

I must say that everything was very fresh and very good quality. I loved the scallops and prawns especially. The river prawns were huge, and I enjoyed eating the head (with all the fat!). The meat was very firm and tasty too. Not disappointed at all! Everyones gets a small plate of the seafood seafood sauce (slightly spicy) and this complements well with everything.

Raw has tiger prawns too (199 baht each or 3 for 299 baht).

If you want extras of anything, you can also order them individually. We ordered extra oysters as everyone seem to enjoy it so much. The rather huge oysters are served with seafood sauce (the green chilli sauce) and fried onions. We poured the seafood sauce on the oysters and let it sit for a while. The oysters are so huge we had to cut it in half to eat it. Again, the oysters are very fresh. 1 for 89 baht, 3 for 249 baht.

Raw does also serve steamed rice (15 baht) and also shrimp paste fried rice (39 baht) if you'd like come carbs to fill you up.

A little warning - you might end up ordering a bit more than you thought you would as what we get isn't really all that filling. Still in our party, the cost worked out to be about 550 baht per person. 

In terms of ambience, I'd say Raw's set up is kind of a street dining with style and a bit like eating at a garden party! They have a stylish looking food truck, and tables set up in a courtyard. There's also a large tent where more tables are set up, which is very handy when it rains!

The staff is very friendly and the young owner very enthusiastic and speaks English well.

The truck

Raw Truckr
Nimman Soi 13
(in the little arcade on the left hand side about 10m from Nimanhaemin Rd).
Tel: 094 847 8118
Opens daily: 5pm-11pm

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Kelly's Bistro

If you're craving Fish & Chips, Kelly's is a good place to go. Rob, the owner has won a couple of Fish & Chips award in England, so you can't go really wrong!

Kelly's serve other various dishes as well eg. Shepherd's Pie, lasagne, panini sandwiches, hamburgers, etc. Their breakfast is also very good.

I particularly like Kelly's home made English muffins with Egg and Sausage patty (59 baht) - the eggs are cooked well, and the sausage and muffins are home made - much, much, much better than McDonald's!

The Toasted Chicken Panini is also great if you're looking for something a bit healthier. Grilled chicken with mayo, lettuce and tomato. (90 baht). You can also add cheese, bacon or pineapple as well (extra charge). There are other fillings are also available.

OK, on with the show... the specialty here is of course, Fish and Chips. We chose the deep sea cod (195 baht), which was nice and meaty and with a stronger flavour than dory. I think they do have dory as well. The fish batter was nice and crispy, and not oily and is served with tartare sauce. You can choose your sides - chips, mushy peas and / or salad (extra charge). This time I just had the chips, and they were good. On the table, there are bottles of malt vinegar, tomato sauce, and chilli sauce, so you can take a pick!

If you're on a diet, or feel like a healthier alternative, they do have grilled dory as well.

Shepherd's Pie - this is not something I have very often. The Shepherd's Pie here is made form pork and cooked in gravy. Not bad, but I found it quite salty. Served with peas and toast (to soak up the last of the gravy!). 160 baht.

A few standard Thai dishes are also available as well. I've tried a couple of these, and they were well made from good quality ingredients.

Kelly's Bristo
206/26 Meechok Plaza
T. Faham, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50000
Tel: 098 016 1990
Opens: Tue- Sun 9am-8pm
Closed on Mondays

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Sunday, 29 March 2015

Rustic and Blue - Handgrown Produce and Artisan Food

This artsy cafe in Nimman Soi 7 is certainly a very charming and inviting place. The decor is rustic and oozes warmth, and there's a large backyard with outdoor seating, comfy looking sofas and even teepees!

There's a whole wall of various kind of fragrant tea blends, created by the owner of the cafe. (The cafe used to the a tea shop). I didn't get a chance to try the tea this time, but will definitely come back to try some.

My friend and I dined indoors in the air-conditioned room that warm evening, but the other patrons chose to eat outside in the garden.

The menu is quite interesting and unusual, like the Duck Prosciutto Crostinis with Mango Black Tea jam. I'd be really interested to see what this 'mango black tea jam' tastes like. I might try it next time.

This time, we opted for the Rustic Warm Brie Salad, which turned out to be really lovely - a whole heap of various super fresh mixed green veggies; still slight warm grilled pumpkin, bell pepper, and zucchini; various seeds eg. pumpkin, sunflower and chia; topped with cereal. I've never had cereals in my salads before, and it added a nice and chewy texture. The dressing was lovely too. The menu said "home made jam dressing" - which I thought would be sweet, but it wasn't at all - it was like an oil based dressing with orange juice - quite refreshing and uplifting, actually. And the warm brie? A slice of brie cheese was toasted with a slice of baguette which gives a nice contrast to the salad. 225 baht.

The Beef Chilli with Homemade Chorizo & Poached Egg was quite good as well. The beef chilli was nicely made. The chorizo had a deep flavour. I think the best thing though was the poached egg which also it pulled everything together! I piled everything on the toasted baguette and had a bit of everything at the same time... yum! 325 baht

There is also a large selection of drinks to choose from, including craft beers, regular beer, wine (and of course, tea). Rustic and Blue serves breakfast, and also have vegetarian and gluten free dishes like the Gluten-free Chickpea Crust Pizza. 

The prices are on the high side, but at the same time, the food is quite lovely and creatively put together, very different from what you'd get elsewhere. The ambience and service is wonderful as well. I definitely want to go back and try other dishes and drinks.

Rustic and Blue
Nimman Soi 7
(Opposite Hong Kong Lucky Cafe @ De Marche)
Tel: 086 654 7178
Opens: 8:30am-10pm

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Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Khun Mor Cuisine @ Nimman Soi 17

There are a never ending list of restaurants to choose from in Nimman area. Many come and go, and many have also stuck around. Khun Mor Cuisine has been around for a while, having opened its doors on Nimman Soi 17 about 16 years ago.

"Khun Mor" is what Thai people call a doctor. Khun Mor first started with a humble boat noodle shop in Mae Taeng, and later opened her shop in Nimman in 1999.

The menu is quite extensive with most of the dishes being traditional Thai and Northern Thai dishes. If you're travelling through and would like to try new dishes other than the good old pad thai and green curry chicken, Khun Mor Cuisine is a good place to be adventurous and try a few new dishes!

Having said that, the pad thai here is great! The "Pad Thai Jun Goong Sod" (sorry, not photos... no idea how I missed taking the photo of this one!) is very well done, the texture and taste was just right. There were also 3 huge prawns on top. 129 baht.

I also like Khun Mor's home made sai ua, a northern Thailand specialty - herbed pork sausages. It was quite herby, and I noticed also that the sausage didn't have a lot of fat (compared to other sai uas that I've eaten). The unusual thing to me is that sai uas are not usually served with condiments on the side - garlic, ginger, chilli, etc. I did try a piece of the sausage with some condiments, but I prefer to just eat the sai ua by itself as I found the ginger and garlic pieces tend to overcome the flavour of the sai ua. 89 baht.

"Krathong thong" - Minched chicken and sweet corn in crispy golden cups. These are quite lovely. The filling has a vibrant curry flavour, and compliments well with the crispy cups. Good appetiser!  69 baht.

"Kaeng Kae Gai" - spicy tradintional herbal soup with mixed vegetables and chicken. This soup is really lovely, fragrant and smooth. A warning though.. The soup contains shrimp paste and fermented fish, an acquired taste, and may not be everyone's cup of tea! Other herbs used in this soup include chilli, lemongrass, garlic and shallots. It went beautifully with the rice, and I must say Khun Mor's Cuisine's rice was beautiful and really fragrant. There was something about the fragrance of the rice and the soup that was just wow when eaten together! Highly recommended, if you dare! 119 baht.

Khun Mor Cuisine is quite large restaurant and is decorated in Lanna style. Most of the seating is in the open air section. There's also some seating in a small garden and an air-conditioned room (5 baht extra per person to use the air-cond room).

There seem be be a mixed review of this restaurant, especially on Trip Advisor. There were a few comments regarding the service that reviewers were not happy about. When I was there, I thought the service was fine. We were in the air-conditioned room and there was a waiter hanging around outside, so it wasn't difficult to get his attention.

And one of the things I really like about Khun Mor Cuisine is the parking! Coming to Nimman to eat is usually not one of my top priorities because of 1) the traffic and 2) the parking situation (or lack of!). This restaurant has its own parking lot across the soi, and a few spots in front of the restaurant too, which is really helpful!

Khun Mor Cuisine
10/1 Nimmanhaemin Rd Soi 17
T Suthep, A Muang, Chiang Mai
Tel: 053 226 379
Opens: 7:30am-10pm

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